It’s amazing to consider how many centuries of design and craftsmanship these silver palm fronds represent. Although advances in 3D resin prototyping and engraving technology means our craftsmen can produce pieces that are finer and more detailed than ever before, the core principles of casting and hand chasing the silver into a realistic palm frond, are the same now as when London’s Silversmiths first established the capital as the centre of the silversmithing world, back in the late 1600s.
What’s really amazing is, even the long history of London’s master metalworkers is relatively short compared to how long civilisations have used the palm frond as a symbol and decoration. The palm’s earliest appearances can be traced back to ancient Mesopotamia as early as 3500 BC, seen in religious works in ancient Assyria, Babylonia, Sumer and Egypt. The humble palm tree has a heritage longer than almost any other design motif we see today.
The palm frond appears everywhere, in all European and Middle Eastern cultures. It was the sign of victory that welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday; it was the palm that grew in the paradise garden of Janna in the Quran, and it was palm trees that are said to have formed the four pillars supporting the roof of the first mosque. In more modern times, the palm frond is found in heraldry, represented on coats of arms from Saint-Etienne in France to the island state of Malta, and from village flags in Eastern Europe right the way to the US Forces insignia for troops stationed in Iraq.
Our palm fronds will be connected together against a finely engraved silver trunk, to create a fine bespoke objet d’art for one of our overseas customers. We can’t claim our silver palms will endure for five thousand years like the carved stone palms of antiquity, but it is reassuring to know that the crafts we keep alive in our workshops, and something as ancient and recognisable as the palm, remains popular today. As they say in France, plus ça change…